President Mauricio Macri sat down for an exclusive interview with Russia Today’s Spanish-language service in Moscow shortly after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and before departing for Davos.
Below are some highlights from his interview, including statements he made on issues touching the relationship between Buenos Aires and Moscow as well in Latin America and some of the most salient issues in domestic politics.
ON ARGENTINA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA
- “Given the relations of so many years, trade isn’t so significant. Argentina feels it can be a strategic source of food for Russia and they want to participate in the infrastructure that we are implementing.”
- “They would like to be part of nuclear infrastructure and also the railways. And we have raised the need for sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to be lifted an for obstacles that prevent an increase of our exports.”
- On whether he discussed the matter of Venezuela with Putin: “I told him that for us it is very important to continue asking for transparent elections, respect for the National Assembly, the release of the political prisoners, because clearly the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is the result of a government that doesn’t respect human rights. And I said that to him.”
ON LATIN AMERICAN ISSUES
- “There hasn’t been a democracy in Venezuela for a long time. The electoral results that (Maduro) has obtained are not, for me, an assurance that they were the result of a transparent election.”
- On how he views Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who has called him a “leech”: “For me, he’s a dictator that has clearly affected the freedoms of Venezuelans and put the lives of many Venezuelans in danger.”
- “For (the Mercosur) it’s also important that we establish a trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union because we also think that there’s an opportunity for integrating both regions.”
- On whether he had any concerns about former Brazilian president Lula making a return to power and the differing vision that he has with incumbent President Michel Temer: “I met Lula when I gave him the keys to the City of Buenos Aires when he visited Argentina as a president of Brazil. We believe that the relationship with Brazil is fundamental. It’s our closest partner, a historic partner, a strategic partner, in complement with Uruguay and Paraguay. So this work that we’re doing goes above and beyond those of us who happen to be government in the long history of the relationship of our two countries. And I hope to continue working with Temer, he has committed to working so that we can reduce the number of sanitary barriers that block trade. Because we need that grade now to be ready for greater integration with the world. And that will continue whoever is president of Brazil.”
ON ARGENTINE POLITICS
- In response to Eugenio Zaffaroni’s comments about the end of his government): “It’s shameful. He should be the first, as a former member of the Supreme Court, and a current member of an international court, to defend the value of democracy – that is that people elect a government until the next election, and whomever wins must run the country. To promote, with those comments, the interruption of mandates is contrary to what someone who holds a position based on democracy and the respect of human rights should do.”
- “I hope that today those who are still angry at us, give themselves and give us a chance that we work together, that good things are possible.”
- “I think that Cambiemos has consolidated itself. With our various histories and origins, we’ve been able to work together as the PRO, the Radicals and the Coalición Cívica. That has brought ease of mind to the population. We’re a long way off from reelection. To talk about reelection now is too soon.”